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Policy Brief

Janet C Frank, Kathryn G Kietzman, Alina Palimaru
The Workforce Education and Training component of California's Mental Health Services Act, which passed in 2004, has infused funding into the public mental health system. However, funding has not kept pace with an existing behavioral health workforce shortage crisis, the rapid growth of an aging population, and the historical lack of geriatric training in higher education for the helping professions. This policy brief draws on recent study findings, state planning documents, and a review of the literature to describe gaps and deficiencies in the behavioral health workforce that serves older adults in California...
January 2019: Policy Brief
Susan H Babey, Joelle Wolstein
This policy brief describes civic engagement among California adolescents in high school. Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the study found that the most common civic engagement activity among California high school teens is volunteering. Latino teens and those from low-income families have lower rates of civic engagement. Higher rates of civic engagement are associated with better health status, fewer days of missed school due to health, better grades, and greater perceived likelihood of attending college...
December 2018: Policy Brief
Joelle Wolstein, Shanna A Charles, Susan H Babey, Allison L Diamant
This policy brief examines differences in health care access, health behaviors, and health outcomes by sexual orientation among California adults. Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, the study finds that although lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and men have similar or better rates of insurance coverage compared to straight women and men, they are more likely to experience delays in getting needed health care. Lesbians, bisexual women, and bisexual men have higher rates of smoking and binge drinking than straight women and men; however, gay men are less likely to consume sugary beverages and to be physically inactive...
October 2018: Policy Brief
Susan H Babey, Joelle Wolstein, Allison L Diamant
This policy brief describes physical activity among California children and adolescents. Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the study found that only 31 percent of children ages 5-11 and 18 percent of adolescents ages 12-17 meet the physical activity guidelines of engaging in at least one hour of physical activity every day. Neighborhood characteristics, including safety and proximity to parks, are related to physical activity levels among youth. Also, among older children, boys are more active than girls...
September 2018: Policy Brief
Susan H Babey, Joelle Wolstein, Allison L Diamant
This policy brief describes two types of walking among California adults: walking for transportation and walking for leisure. Using data from the 2013-14 California Health Interview Survey, the study found that the prevalence of both types of walking has increased since 2003. The prevalence of walking for both transportation and leisure varies with age, income, race/ethnicity, and neighborhood safety and cohesion. Additional efforts by state and local policymakers, as well as by communities, are needed to reduce disparities and promote walking among adults...
September 2018: Policy Brief
Shana Alex Charles, Francis Nepomuceno,, Gerald F Kominski
As Medi-Cal enrollment expanded during the early years of ACA expansion (2014 and 2015), county health department spending in California also swelled. For most counties and regions in the state, the two measures tracked closely. However, exceptions in Northern California (with high enrollment and low spending growth) and Central California (low enrollment but high spending growth) show that other factors may also have had an effect. Importantly, if Medi-Cal is turned into a capped block-grant program at the federal level, counties would be heavily impacted and could be left with budget shortages...
September 2018: Policy Brief
Ozlem Equils, Caitlyn Kellogg, Wendy Berger, Keri Hurley-Kim, Elan Rubinstein, Gerald Kominski
Adult vaccination rates in the United States are consistently lower than the National Healthy People 2020 goals. Barriers to adult vaccination include inconsistency of insurance coverage of adult vaccines and difficulty in accessing vaccines. To help address the gap in adult access to vaccines, in 2016 the Department of Health Care Services--which administers the Medi-Cal program (California’s version of Medicaid)--implemented the All Plan Letter (APL) 16-009, which requires coverage of recommended adult vaccines as a pharmacy benefit...
August 2018: Policy Brief
N Pourat, A E Martinez, L A Haley, X Chen
Parks After Dark (PAD) is an innovative Los Angeles County (County) strategy for building resilient communities that re-envisions parks as community hubs. PAD began in 2010 at three parks and expanded to twenty-three parks in 2017, evolving into a key County prevention and intervention strategy to promote health, safety, equity, and family and community well-being through cross-sector collaborations. The parks selected for PAD participation are located in communities that, compared to Los Angeles County as a whole, experience higher rates of violence, economic hardship, and obesity and have fewer resources for physical activity and social gathering (see Parks After Dark Evaluation Report, May 2017)...
July 2018: Policy Brief
Joelle Wolstein, Susan H Babey
This policy brief examines patterns of sugary beverage consumption among children and adolescents in California. Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), this study found that while sugary beverage consumption decreased among adolescents ages 12-17 between 2011-12 and 2013-14, it increased among children under age 12 between 2009 and 2013-14. The trend among children under age 12 may be attributed to a shift in sugary beverage consumption from soda to sports and energy drinks. Establishing and strengthening policies that focus on reducing consumption of sugary beverages could counter the increasing consumption trend among younger children as well as result in further reductions in consumption among teens...
May 2018: Policy Brief
Janet C Frank, Alixe McNeill, Nancy Wilson, Danielle Dupuy, JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez, Alina Palimaru, Kathryn Kietzman
In 2004, voters in California approved Proposition 63 for passage of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). From that time until 2014, over $13 billion in the state's tax revenue was allocated for public mental health services. There is very little information available to answer critical questions such as these: How much of this amount was spent in the interests of older adult mental health? What benefits were gained from services delivered to older adults? This policy brief promotes recommendations for specific age-relevant indicator utilization and for an expanded system of uniform and transparent data for all types of MHSA-funded programs...
January 2018: Policy Brief
Kathryn G Kietzman, Danielle Dupuy, JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez, Alina Palimaru, Homero E del Pino, Janet C Frank
This policy brief summarizes findings from the first study to evaluate how California's public mental health delivery system has served older adults (60 years of age and over) since the passage of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) in 2004. Study findings indicate that there are unmet needs among older adults with mental illness in the public mental health delivery system. There are deficits in the involvement of older adults in the required MHSA planning processes and in outreach and service delivery, workforce development, and outcomes measurement and reporting...
January 2018: Policy Brief
Jody L Herman, Bianca DM Wilson, Tara Becker
This report provides the first look at demographics, health, and health care access among transgender adults in California who participated in the 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). In California, about 92,000 (0.35 percent) adults ages 18 to 70 are transgender. Transgender adults are similar to cisgender1 adults in many ways but experience disparities in mental health, disability status, and health care access. Compared to cisgender adults, transgender adults are more than three times more likely to have ever thought about suicide, nearly six times more likely to have ever attempted suicide, nearly four times more likely to have experienced serious psychological distress, and more than three times more likely to have emotions that interfere with their relationships, social life, ability to do chores, and work performance...
October 2017: Policy Brief
Kate McBride, Ana Reynoso, Tiffany Alunan, Brenda Gutierrez, Adrien Bacong, Marge Moon, Anastasia Bacigalupo, A E Benjamin, Steven P. Wallace, Kathryn G Kietzman
Los Angeles County has the state’s lowest rate of consumer enrollment in Cal MediConnect, a program that is responsible for the delivery and coordination of medical, behavioral health, and long-term services and support benefits for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal. This policy brief examines the factors that influence consumer decisions and may contribute to low enrollment rates. Influential factors include consumer knowledge of health care options, perception of choice, and disruption of existing care...
September 1, 2017: Policy Brief
N Pourat, A E Martinez, L A Haley, P Rasmussen, X Chen
Parks after Dark is a Los Angeles County (County) program that began in 2010 as the primary prevention strategy of the County's Gang Violence Reduction Initiative. It has since evolved into a key County strategy to promote health, safety, equity, and community well-being. Led by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), PAD is a collaboration of multiple County departments as well as community agencies. PAD was designed to be implemented in communities with higher rates of violence, economic hardship, and obesity...
August 2017: Policy Brief
Maria-Elena Young, Steven P Wallace, Amy Bonilla, Nadereh Pourat, Michael Rodriguez
Federally Qualified Health Centers--commonly referred to as Community Health Centers (CHCs)--serve as critical safety net providers for those who are uninsured or who may become uninsured. This policy brief reports the findings from the Remaining Uninsured Access to Community Health Centers (REACH) research project, which sought to identify the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the ability of CHCs to serve the remaining uninsured. We examined strategies undertaken by CHCs in four states to reinforce the local safety net through partnerships, improvements to the local health system, and advocacy...
July 2017: Policy Brief
Nederah Pourat
California has 12 county-owned and operated hospital systems and 5 University of California hospitals designated as public hospitals. These organizations deliver the majority of inpatient care and a significant amount of outpatient care to Medicaid patients in the state. In 2010, California was the first state in the nation to implement a five-year Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program under the Section §1115 Medicaid "Bridge to Reform" waiver to improve the capacity of these hospitals to deliver high quality and more efficient care...
June 2017: Policy Brief
Sue Holtby, Nicole Lordi, Royce Park, Ninez Ponce
Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for the years 2011-2014, this report presents findings on families with children ages 0-5 years. It breaks down differences between urban, suburban, and rural families, and it highlights the characteristics of families who speak a language other than English in the home. As more than half of families with young children in California speak a language other than English in the home, the characteristics of dual language households are highlighted. In 1998, California passed the California Children and Families Act to improve development for children from the prenatal stage to five years of age...
May 2017: Policy Brief
Haleigh Mager-Mardeusz, Cosima Lenz, Gerald F Kominski
Changing the Medicaid program is a top priority for the Republican party. Common themes from GOP proposals include converting Medicaid from a jointly financed entitlement benefit to a form of capped federal financing. While proponents of this reform argue that it would provide greater flexibility and a more predictable budget for state governments, serious consequences would likely result for Medicaid enrollees and state governments. Under all three scenarios promoted by Republicans--block grants, capped allotments, and per capita caps—most states would face increased costs...
April 2017: Policy Brief
Petra W Rasmussen
Although the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was recently defeated, the policies in the bill represented a mix of ideas long favored by conservatives. If enacted, this repeal-and-replace bill would have had devastating consequences for most of the 5 million Californians currently receiving direct benefits from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including more than 1 million who receive subsidies through Covered California and almost 4 million who have enrolled in the Medi-Cal expansion. Although the bill failed to garner enough votes for passage, it is likely that efforts to chip away at the ACA will continue and that some of the ideas contained within the AHCA will be revisited...
March 2017: Policy Brief
Steven P Wallace, Marie-Elena Young, Michael A Rodriguez
Federally Qualified Health Centers--commonly referred to as Community Health Centers (CHCs)--serve as a safety net for people who did not gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including those immigrants not eligible for Medicaid or health insurance exchange coverage. ACA-driven changes in health insurance coverage, funding, and related policy have created new challenges for these safety net organizations. This policy brief reports the findings from analyses of the U.S. HRSA Uniform Data System and interviews conducted in 2014-16 with the leadership of 31 CHCs...
October 2016: Policy Brief
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